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    Fire Cider Blog — Main Dishes

    Zucchini Pancakes - Gluten-Free and Low Carb

    One thing we all have in abundance right now are zucchinis, either from your own garden or from your neighbors leaving bags full on your doorstep. You're welcome! A summer squash saute with onions, topped with fresh basil is my easy go-to for abundant zucchini. Making pancakes with zucchini is a bit more interesting, and they freeze really well, so this is a nice way to make dinner or breakfast and save all the leftovers for later in the season.  

    In this recipe I use chickpea flour for best flavor and because it's gluten-free, lower in carbohydrates and very nutritious. There is also a super low carbohydrate option: coconut flour. The measurements are different since coconut flour has a very high fiber content and will absorb much more liquid than the chickpea flour will. Either one is delicious.

    On our way to dinner with friends. I reheated these under the broiler for a few minutes.

    Ingredients:
    • 8 cups shredded zucchini
    • 1 shy cup of finely chopped onion
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped 
    • zest of a small lime
    • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • black pepper and salt, to taste
    • 4 medium sized eggs, beaten
    • 1 cup flour: chickpea works great; oat flour or spelt is nice too. For a super low carbohydrate option (Atkins, Candida Diet, etc) substitute with only a 1/2 cup of coconut flour
    Method:

    Shred the zucchini, by hand if you want a workout or with the shredder attachment on your food processor.

    Toss the shredded zucchini with salt and let it drain in a colander over a bowl for about 20 minutes. I know it's tempting to skip this step, but it is crucial to ending up with yummy pancakes instead of globs of mush. 

    8 cups of shredded zucchini, salted, and set to drain into the bowl below.

    Beat the eggs in a large bowl (large enough to accommodate all the ingredients); add in the onion, garlic, lime zest, lemon juice, oregano and black pepper.

    Go back to your sweating zucchini after 20 minutes and give it a good squeeze. Really get in there and squeeze as much liquid out as you can. I got a full jam jar and then some, and my zucchini was reduced in size by about half.  

    After 20 minutes and a lot of squeezing!

    You can save the zucchini water for soup or you can be super hardcore and just drink it, it's good for you! I diluted mine with some ice water, it was a bit too salty, and added a shot of Fire Cider.  

    Once the zucchini has been squeezed and drained, mix it in with the eggs and seasonings. 

    The mixture will be soupy, which is where the flour comes in. Add the chickpea flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until your zucchini mix is like thick muffin batter. Mine usually takes about one cup. You are now ready for frying!

    I used my large cast iron skillet to cook these since I use my large cast iron skillet for everything. Add organic peanut, coconut or grapeseed oil to generously coat the pan and turn the heat to medium high. You can make these pancakes as small or as large as you want, just be sure to get them nice and brown on each side- about 3 minutes each. Set them on a plate covered with paper to absorb the excess oil.  

    Serve immediately, topped with fresh goat cheese and more fresh oregano.  

    Or, let them cool completely on a cookie rack. Wrap them up and store them in the freezer. They make an excellent quick meal, just unwrap and pop them in your toaster oven or under the broiler.

    The Greenest Wrap: Romaine or Collard Sandwich Wrap

    One of my favorite ways to eat more greens is to use them in place of bread or crackers. Nothing against burger buns or sandwich bread, but we know that whole grains are best, well, whole! Skip the processed wheat and grab a bunch of crispy Romaine or collard greens instead. I use Romaine lettuce like a taco shell- fill it up with whatever you like- sliced avocado, tomato, homemade mayo and bacon for a healthier B.L.T. Bibb lettuce is soft, flexible and makes for a great little wrap. Want to eat that salad with your hands? Wrap it up in the biggest lettuce leaves from the outside of the bunch. Look at you, doubling down on your veggies!

    Using large collard leaves makes for a sturdier wrap that can hold such awesome summer foods as cheese burgers or the ultimate hummus wrap. You can use the leaves raw or lightly steamed -- these are best for hot foods or for bigger wraps. The folding is easy and unlike regular wraps, these stay sealed. The only prep work you need to do is to carefully trim the rough stems.  

    Cut the end of the stem off and then lay the collard leaf flat and slice off the rough stem that sticks up, so that the leaf is flat and entirely flexible, like in this photo from MindBodyGreen.com's tutorial on how to use collards like a wrap!

    Don't worry if you tear the collard leaf a bit; you'll get the hang of the stem trimming and can fold around any small tear.

    If you want to steam your collard leaves so that they are more flexible and easier to use and eat, there are a few methods that work well. This video from Plant PoweredKitchen.com has my favorite technique for when you just want to make up a few wraps. Get some water boiling in your kettle and open the spout so you've got a nice stream of steam coming up. Hold your raw collard leaf by the stem and wave it over the spout of steam, lightly steaming the whole leaf until it's bright green and soft enough to fold. Then trim off the stem as described above. Repeat until you have enough wraps.

    Or, follow the quick blanch method I found on Mind BodyGreen.com- bring a wide shallow pan of water to a simmer. Take your de-stemmed collard leaves and give them a 10 second dunk in the pan, one at a time, using tongs to get the collard leaves in and then out and into an ice bath. Dry in layers using tea towels. Once you've got all your wraps ready, fill as desired!

    The wrapping part is easy, and there are a number of ways to do it, but this photo tutorial from HonestFare.com is easy to follow:

    Add your filling to the center of one or two overlapping leaves. Fold the sides in to contain the filling. Then, starting at one long end, roll the leaf over the filling and keep rolling, making sure the ends stay tucked in. Slice in half and enjoy!

    Above: steamed collard wrapped burger with the works from Bareburger.

    Quinoa Pizza Crust

    Our friend Lottie came up with this gluten-free quinoa based pizza crust. The recipe is from her blog, Running On Veggies, where she shares her love of healthy eating through recipes and health coaching, check her out!

    "I’ve never been much of pizza eater, but I do love a crispy crunchy texture you get from the crust of a pizza. In the past, I always would take a brown rice wrap and toast it until it was crispy. This pizza crust reminds me exactly of that! But this is so much better and so easy to make! Lately I found that I don’t make or even attempt most recipes because it always seems complicated and has way too many ingredients (Still upset about all those times I attempted cauliflower crust pizza, but failed!). So I pride myself for my recipes with minimal ingredients and easy directions. 

     For this crust, all you really need is quinoa and water! Everything else in here just gives it more flavor. Just remember to leave yourself enough time to soak your quinoa for at least 6 hours. I soaked mine the night before, but you can totally do it before heading out for the day. And for an additional reason to try this recipe, it takes under 30 minutes to put together! 

    I used Unsweetened Fire Cider that added extra flavor to the pizza crust! I am so excited to play around with this product; the smell alone is incredible. The original is sweetened with honey, so naturally I was excited to see them come out with an unsweetened version. It’s really mild in taste, not like traditional apple cider vinegar  because it’s mixed with other flavors such as: Oranges, Lemons, Onions, Horseradish, Ginger, Habanero Pepper, Garlic and Turmeric. Along with a ton of health benefits, it tastes great on its own. To my surprise traditional pizza dough has a ton of sugar, so instead I used Fire Cider and it gave it that sweet flavor found in pizza dough!

    Take a look at what's in regular store bought pizza-

    Traditional Pizza Crust Ingredients: Enriched bleached wheat flour (bleached flour, malted barley flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, yeast, salt, sugar, soybean &/or cottonseed oil, whey, may contain 2% or less of enzymes &/or datem, vital wheat gluten, potassium sorbate (preservative), ascorbic acid, sodium stearoyl lactylate.

    HA what are half of those ingredients?! Try this instead:

    Recipe: Preheat 425 degrees 
    • 1 cup of quinoa uncooked (soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight)
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3 tablespoons of Unsweetened Fire Cider
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional for extra “cheesy” flavor”)
    • 2 cloves roasted garlic (optional)
    Directions:

    Rinse your soaked quinoa with a strainer really well.

        

      Place all your ingredients in a blender, blend for a couple minutes till really smooth and creamy. It should look like this:

      Place parchment paper on  a 10-12 inch pizza pan or baking dish; spray with non-stick spray, and spread out batter on to the dish.       

      Cook for 15 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 10-12 minutes till crispy and brown.

      Place your favorite toppings on top get creative! Place back in the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes or until desired."

         

        Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cherries and Pistachios

        I recently found this recipe on Denise Costello's site The Energized Body.com. Her mission is simple and delicious: "to help you eat your way happy & healthy so you can feel your best, be your best & give your best."  And her take on Brussels sprouts, one of my favorite winter vegetables, was too good not to share!  

        Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cherries and Pistachios
        This is a simple and satisfying winter “salad” & great for parties!

        Ingredients
        • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
        • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
        • ½ teaspoon salt
        • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
        • 2 tablespoons Fire Cider or balsamic vinegar
        • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
        • ⅓ cup shelled pistachios
        • ½ cup dried sweet cherries
        Method

        Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss Brussels sprouts on a rimmed cookie sheet with 1 tablespoon of oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, stir to mix, then roast for another 10 minutes, until done to your liking.

        In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard and remaining oil and salt. Stir in roasted Brussels sprouts, pistachios and cherries.

        Makes a great addition to your holiday table or pot luck!

        Sprouts and Beans!

        My idea of a balanced meal is a plate full of green veggies with a side of slow cooked beans with a Red Apple Butchers hot Italian sausage. A filling and delicious winter meal and yep, it's healthy too. Of course, if you are going to eat meat, make sure it's from an animal raised on a healthy farm, certified humane and organic. Or buy direct from a local farm or a butcher shop that only sells humanely raised farm animals like James and Jazu at Red Apple Butchers in Berkshire Organics.

        This recipe takes about 35 minutes, most of which is cooking time. Getting the beans in the oven only takes about 5 minutes. Then you can make the Brussels sprouts while the beans cook. These recipes easily double, so you'll have healthy leftovers. Cook once and get meals for days!

        Sauteed Brussels sprouts, beans and sausage!

        For the Beans
        Ingredients:
        • 1 large onion, diced
        • 2 (16-ounce) cans of organic beans - Amy’s Organic brand should be easy to find if you are in a hurry! Or soak and cook your own dried beans.
        • 3 tablespoons of your favorite spicy mustard
        • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (optional)
        • 4 tablespoons ketchup, we love First Field Ketchup from New Jersey
        • 1 tablespoon Fire Cider or Apple Cider Vinegar
        • about 1/3 cup lard, olive oil or, my favorite, rendered bacon fat!

        Method:

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

        In a Dutch oven mix onion, beans, mustard, maple syrup or honey if using, ketchup, and Fire Cider. Then mix in the fat. I highly recommend rendered bacon fat.

        Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

        For the Brussels Sprouts
        Ingredients:
        • Brussels sprouts
        • knob of fresh pasture butter
        • splash or two of Fire Cider
        • salt, to taste
        • Optional: cooked, sliced sausage (we recommend Red Apple Butchers) or tempeh from Hosta Hill
        Method:

        In a cast iron pan, cover the bottom with prepared, halved Brussels sprouts. Add a small amount of water, turn the heat up and cover. Steam the sprouts until just tender.

        Pour off any excess water; add the knob of fresh pasture butter and sauté until golden brown.

        De-glaze with a splash or two of Fire Cider. Add salt to taste.

        Add the cooked, sliced sausage or tempeh to your beans for a balanced, healthy meal.